Fresno USD board elects Robert Nelson as Superintendent

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Thunderous applause as a packed board room rose to its feet--welcoming the man chosen (KFSN)

Thunderous applause as a packed board room rose to its feet--welcoming the man chosen to lead a Fresno Unified in a new chapter.

"This is no small gig, this is a big big deal," said Bob Nelson, Fresno Unified School District Superintendent.

Bob Nelson emerged as the finalist last month after a nationwide hunt. He has served as a teacher, principal and former Superintendent Michael Hanson's Chief of Staff.

When Hanson was ousted in January-- Nelson was selected as a temporary replacement.

"Having the opportunity to serve as the acting, the interim, the finalist, and now superintendent, has given me a grounding of what the issues are and I hope to continue that work right away," said Nelson.

Nelson's hire comes at a trying time for the district. Hostiles have erupted between those who support Board President Brooke Ashjian and those who want him to step down for LGBT comments.

"If you don't agree with him that your business but he has a right to speak. >

The teacher's union is also on the verge of voting for a strike.

"What we are saying-- we need in the classroom has been ignored, we literally have not had discussions during our bargaining, they are not even willing to discuss these issues with us," said John Bath, FTA bargaining chair.

Nelson says he's ready for these challenges--hoping to lead with dignity, to unite rather than divide.

"Even if we agree to disagree, there are going to be things we disagree about and it's fine, but if we can couch that within civility and mutual respect and keep those relationships intact--that would be the type of leader I'd like to be," said Nelson.
Under the contract, Nelson will make $295,000 a year.

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